It was the Jermain Defoe deal that looked set to resuscitate Sunderland’s stuttering season, but it’s been shelved in the wake of one of the greatest Jozy Altidore misses to date.
The US international forward’s record of 2 goals in 70-odd Premier League appearances had made him the envy of goalkeepers up and down the division, with the likes of Asmir Begović and Tim Howard still struggling to get past the 1 mark.
However, Defoe’s record of over 100 Premier League goals has been attracting fervent wolf whistles from Black Cats boss Gus Poyet, whose attempts to surgically merge Connor Wickham, Steven Fletcher and Danny Graham into some kind of Frankenstein’s centre-forward have resulted in even more scoreless outings than had been thought humanly possible.
Toronto FC’s willingness to let Defoe go in exchange for Altidore resulted in an agreement that hinged entirely on both players making their outbound flights on time, which they both did – however, only one of them managed to actually board his plane.
Eyewitness accounts have described Altidore’s attempts to ascend the mobile staircase leading to his chartered passenger flight as “comical”, with the player left reeling on the tarmac as the plane took off to howls of derision after “at least an hour” of patiently waiting for him to successfully navigate the transition from runway to flying vessel.
And Sunderland fans will be dismayed to learn that this most spectacular of Altidore misses has effectively scuppered the Defoe deal they hoped would reverse their side’s ailing fortunes.
Speaking exclusively to Football Burp, Poyet rolled his eyes, tutted and exclaimed “back to the drawing board”.
He said: “Tch!
“Back to the drawing board.”